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Hagee, Holocaust & Hebron
By Yossi Baumol
G-d certainly didn't "cause" the Holocaust. It was a group of horrid monsters headed by Hitler who caused it by exercising their free will in the worst imaginable way. In addition, it is difficult to bear hearing anyone confidently speak on behalf of Divine Providence.
Yet the fact is that an all powerful G-d did allow the Holocaust to happen. The fact is that others have spoken in His name just as confidently.
Many people have risen up to castigate Rev. John Hagee for saying that the reason Divine Providence allowed the Holocaust to happen was so that the Jews should go back to the
Would a Jew say such a thing?
Just by accident, let's take a look at "B'Chukotai" - the Torah portion read the week this story broke on the Huffington Post website. Rabbi Meir Simcha of D'vinsk wrote in 1925 on Leviticus (26:44): The Jew, in general, will forget from whence he came…He will think that
In his revived sermon from the 1990's, Rev. Hagee said that the passage in Jeremiah regarding fishermen and hunters refers to Herzl & Hitler. How far off is he from the following Jewish source? "For there are two ways to acquire an animal: call it and it follows after him, or strike a stick and it runs before him. And thus we have to ascend to the
There are dozens of the most highly respected Talmudic scholars who concur with this view and they can be found in Chapter 2D of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner's book, "Shelo Yaalu B'Choma", translated into English by Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig which is quoted at length at the end of this article.
The fact is that most of the Torah portion we read last week deals with this prediction. Despite the horrors of the Diaspora, the Torah promises us that we will not be totally destroyed while in exile: "And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: (Lev 26:44).
The source of our strength, the source of our protection lies in
Excerpts from Chapter 2D of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner's book, "Shelo Yaalu B'Choma", translated by Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig
…3. And the great authorities of Israel already wrote that it is forbidden to remain in Exile when there are also evil decrees, they include the Rambam: That those who abstain from this [ascending to the Land] they are "violators and cause others to sin," the Ralbag, and the Magen Avraham: that furthermore are "liable to the death penalty," and this is also implied from the words of the Ramban.
4. And the great authorities of Israel similarly wrote that the purpose of the suffering of the Exile is to awaken us to ascend to the Land of Israel - and this is similarly in the Midrash - they include the Chatam Sofer, the author of the Arba'ah Turim and Ha-Rav Mordechai Eliezer Weber, that this is the explanation of the talmudic statement "The Land of Israel comes through suffering that the suffering hints to us to awaken ourselves to return to the Land of Israel," and Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin.
5. The great authorities of Israel wrote that the horrors of the Exile come upon us when we do not ascend to the Land of Israel, they include Ha-Rav Yaacov Tzvi Emden, Ha-Rav Yehudah Alkalai and similarly the Rokeach.
6. The Shelah wrote that the goal of the fiery furnace is to clarify that this is a mitzvah to ascend to the
7. The great authorities already warned, that if we do not ascend on our own to the Land of Israel, the matter will come through horrors and destruction, they include Rabbi Simchah Bunem of Pshischa that it is incumbent upon us to ascend to the Land of Israel on our own and not wait to be struck by a rod, and Rabbi Meir Simchah of Dvinsk similarly wrote that Hashem will clarify by a blow of fury that Berlin is not Jerusalem. And the Netziv and the Gra wrote that it is incumbent upon us to choose the path of the of the Revealed End of returning to Zion and then there would not have been a need for our Sages to warn us regarding a king whose decrees would be worse than Haman, "and almost every day our Rabbi spoke to us in trembling and emotion that in Zion and Jerusalem there will be a refuge, do not delay the appointed time. Who can recount and who can describe the magnitude of concern of our Rabbi in his relating to us these types of matters in his holy spirit and tears in his eyes." In the year 5693 (1933), ten years before the destruction of Europe, when the oppressors of the Jews, may their name be blotted out, rose to power, the Chafetz Chaim said that the remaining refugee camp would be in the Land of Israel.
Our master Ha-Rav Kook wrote: "Come to the
8. And our Rabbi Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah wrote that the Holocaust is the divorce document with the Exile which appears together with our Redemption.
Bibliography of quotes selected from Rabbi Aviner's book
100. At the end of Iggeret Kiddush Hashem (Edition of Mossad Ha-Rav Kook pg. 66) that it is forbidden to remain in the land there in which there are decrees, "But those who deceive themselves and say that they should stay in their place until the King Messiah comes to the Land of the West [and then they will] leave and go to Jerusalem - I do not know how this persecution will be nullified for them. Rather they are violators and cause others to sin."
101. That after there was a famine in the Land, our forefather Avraham decided on his own that this is the will of The Holy One, Blessed be He, that he should descend to Egypt even though the Divine command was to settle in the Land (To'aliyot Ha-Ralbag, Parashat Lech Lecha, Bereshit 12:10). And all the more so to abandon the Exile and to ascend to the Land (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 160-161).
102. "That if there are harsh decrees in the Land of Israel one should sacrifice his life for settling the Land which is not the case of one who dwells outside of the Land in a place of decrees, he is liable to the death penalty if he does not go to another country" (Zait Ra'anan on Yalkut Shemoni Yitro 292. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 106-107).
103. Who wrote that The Holy One, Blessed be He, promised us that we would sit in tranquility and with ample livelihood in the Exile (Parashat Ki Tavo, Devarim 28:38), and if so, when the non-Jews take all of the benefits of life from us, it is as if The Holy One, Blessed be He, is saying: "I pulled my hand away from you from further promising your settlement in the Exile, but you should arise and come to your mother's chest" (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 160, 239).
104. For The Holy One, Blessed be He, brought distress upon Machlon and Kilyon for approximately ten years in order to warn them to return to the
105. For the force of the distress is to bring us to the
106. "Any time that the sounds, cries and screams of the harsh decrees are heard, God forbid, every person's heart should burn to build the
107. The introduction of the book "Erech Dal" on Arachin. Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pp. 161, 231. And ibid., that the purpose of this bitter Exile is to awaken us for the
108. "Now I know why you are against ascending and building the Land, since any time that you eat 'lichtiga fish' ['fish of light' which Chasidim eat at Seudah Shelishit while it is still day] the
109. "Do not consider remaining rooted outside the Land...this was the sin of our forefathers...and it is what kept us in our bitter Exile because not only one person arose upon us to destroy us but in each and every generation...and we were persecuted ruthlessly...as it seems to us when we were in tranquility outside of Israel that we found the Land of Israel [on] a different level, therefore all of the tragedies come upon us when Israel was dwelling in the Land of Spain and other lands..." (Siddur Beit Yaacov, introduction, 13). "And if only this sin had been in our hands...in my view it is the closest reason, revealed, powerful and strong, for all of the horrible, great and unprecedented persecutions, which astonishes the mind, which we have experienced in Exile" (ibid.). And see below footnote 178.
111. For the persecutions of
112. Shelah volume 3, chelek Torah Shebichtav, 11:2 (Em Ha-Banim Semeichah pg. 330).
113. For there are two ways to acquire an animal: call it and it follows after him, or strike a stick and it runs before him. And thus we have to ascend to the
114. "...and the Jew...will think that Berlin is Jerusalem...then a stormy and rushing wind will come, it will uproot us from its trunk..." (Meshech Chochmah Bechukotai pg. 192). "A stormy wind will arise, and spread out its many waves, and destroy, lay waste, ruin, wash away without mercy" (pg. 191).
115. For during the three days of darkness all those who did not want to leave Egypt died, "And all of this is incumbent upon us to remember that also at this time that many of Israel refuse the future Redemption [occurring] quickly in our days, but The Holy One, Blessed be He, will rule over us with a strong hand" (Haggadah of Pesach on the verse "And Hashem brought us out...with a strong hand").
116. Kol Ha-Tur chapter 4 #3.
117. Kol Ha-Tur end of chapter 5. And similarly "And there will be a refugee in
118. As it is written (Ovadiah 1:17) "And there will be a refugee on
119. "Keriyot Gedolot - Le-Eretz Yisrael." And Ha-Rav of Onsdorf said [in Yiddish]: Woe, I see that God forbid the Jews can not remain here, in these countries, and they will be forced to flee. There will be nowhere to flee. Why do they not see to build the settlement in the
120. "Hashem's hand extends over us, from the midst of bloodshed, fiery furnaces, agony of suffering, kindling of fires, sacrificing of souls, which with the taking of land of the Exile and the removal of the Divine Presence from it, also brings us by our forelock, and places us in the heights of our theater of operations" (Le-Netivot Yisrael pg.  81). "And the extension of Hashem's hand over us in a pouring out of His anger, to remove us from the impurities of the lands of the Nations and the dispersions of our Exiles in the midst of their darkness...in the annihilation of a third of our body and its choice part" (ibid. pg.  123). "The dreadful chapter of the Divine dissection in the body of the Nation with the annihilation of our six million, an important part, in a way of lifting us to our place" (ibid. pg.  147). "The departure from the desert of the Nations...with the inconceivable horrible and dreadful dissection-severance of hundred of thousands, may the remembrance of the holy ones be a blessing, may Hashem revenge their blood, and cause to enter for the settlement of the Land" (ibid. pg.  179). "The ingathering of our exiles and entrance of our scattered to the Place of our Life, with their horrible uprooting of the dispersions and the scattering" (ibid. pg.  247). "With the completion of the collapse of the land of the Exile from under our feet...with the fulfillment of the word of Hashem that 'Among these Nations we will not find tranquility and our feet will not find rest'..." (ibid. pg.  69). "The storm of severance of the body of the Entirety of Israel from the deserts of the Nations" (ibid. pg.  105). "The complete actual arising, of the announcement that 'Among these Nations we will not find tranquility,' came with taking the portion of the land from our presence there" (ibid. pg.  80). "In the essence of the full collapse, the complete uprooting, the final severance, for all of the Community of Israel's agony of upheaval from its reality among the Nations and their lands, of its bodies and its souls, of its adults and its youths, of its possession and its culture, of its physical and its spiritual, of its holy and its profane - it is the appearance of the light of life and the revival of the Nation of Holiness and the splendor of its eternity" (ibid. pg. [102-103] 135).
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